ASB, BSU collaborate for celebration of Black History Month

Byron Tran, Staff Writer

For Black History Month, Westview’s ASB and Black Student Union (BSU) sought innovative methods of celebrating the month. In contrast to Westview’s usual festive quad performances and displays of culture during Black History Month, this year’s approach for cultural appreciation had been restricted to online interaction. Westview BSU’s President Melat Kassahun (12) said that this year’s online approach for celebrating the culture and accomplishments of the Black community was one of the most collaborative celebrations of Black History Month she had ever experienced at Westview, as Westview’s BSU had the support and guidance from BSU leaders from other schools, Diversify Our Narrative PUSD, Westview’s Administration, and ASB. 

With the pandemic restricting the celebratory events that were commonplace for Black History Month at Westview, BSU and ASB worked throughout the month to provide the student body with online content. ASB Culture Commissioner Lilah Nash (10) said the BSU executive board wanted the month to be about celebration.

For each week in February, BSU and ASB allocated a specific topic to highlight aspects of the Black community from cultural clothing to local businesses the general public can support during the pandemic.

“We mostly posted infographics, held webinars, and created videos we thought would be interesting,” Kassahun said. “It was difficult to figure out what medium we wanted to present the information in, but we eventually settled on having a variety of mediums to keep it engaging.”

Graphic by Byron Tran

While events for Black History Month draw more immediate appeal while in person, with most events taking place in the quad and at the center of student life on campus, the switch to online content limits the audience ASB and BSU have at hand. 

Still, Kassahun said that even with the limited reach with their new platform, people can still find themselves drawn to the content being provided. 

“I think taking into account the surge of awareness and acceptance of Black issues, we just had a greater number of people who were interested, and I think that would be evident if we were still in school too,” Kassahun said.

In general, Nash said that it can be difficult to get students to spend extra time online interacting with the school-related content.

“At a certain point it’s really up to the students who really want to learn and educate themselves as well as celebrate fellow students around them,” Nash said.

Despite this, ASB and BSU found successful ways to have meaningful interaction with the student body and the community through notable posts on their Instagram pages. ASB and BSU highlighted the achievements of Black students during week two of the celebration, and arranged a Jubilee-inspired video titled “Do All Black People Think the Same?” bringing together six students to discuss various topics from music tastes to political views during week four. 

All in all, Kassahun said she is most excited that people are saying they learned something new.

“This month was difficult to plan on a virtual platform and [ASB] really guided us through that, so the entire club and I are really thankful,” Kassahun said. “As a club we were just happy to finally have time and a platform to bring up recent topics that are rarely talked about and also lift up Black people in our community.”

All information and content posted by BSU and ASB are located on their Instagram pages and IGTV at @westviewbsu and @westviewasb, with some content to be found on ASB’s culture page.

Readers can view the content posted here:

Week 1: ASB Week 1, BSUxASB Presents Black History Month, Fashion, Music, Hairstyles

Week 2: ASB Week 2, Black Excellence in our Community, Shelby Jacobs, Ekene Okolo, CJ Latimer, Mandela Tobin

Week 3: ASB Week 3, Black Businesses, Addis Restaurant Vlog, Rhythm’s Chicken and Waffles Vlog

Week 4: Do All Black People Think the Same? Part 1, Part 2